Friday, February 26, 2010

There IS Such Thing as a Free Dinner

The Patterson family loves Mexican food. All of us. Seriously, my kids beg for it (and they don't have to twist my arm too hard!)

Last night we hit our favorite Mexican place, Las Fajitas. It had been a crazy night of piano lessons, basketball practice, a trip to the post office, get the idea. Mom had been sort-of-kind-of finishing a book (The Last good!) which was way more important than planning dinner (or cleaning the house for that matter!)

So we sat down together for a late dinner and woofed down our favorite cheesy, crunchy, salsa-y yumminess.

Then we asked the waiter for the check.

He handed it to us and it looked like this:

He pointed to an empty booth in the corner and said that those people had paid for our dinner. They wrote a little note on the top "Beautiful kids! So very well behaved!!"

I couldn't help but look around the table at my four little munchkins and think...really? (I mean, I know they're cute...but well behaved enough for someone to notice?)

Then I looked a the empty booth and tried to picture it's previous occupants. I had noticed a man sitting on the side that was facing me, but I hadn't even seen the people sitting across from him. How horrible! I didn't remember them getting up and leaving. They didn't come over and say hi to the kids (lots of people stop and talk to Adeline, so it wouldn't have really been out of the's an occupational hazard of being THAT adorable!) They didn't make eye contact or wave. They just quietly left the restaurant after showing us this act of kindness.

I drove home with tears in my eyes. Admittedly, it doesn't take much for me to tear up...but this really touched me. Complete strangers plunked down $31.55 to buy dinner for my family. And they didn't even hang around to hear my "thank yous". What kind of people do that????

I think that's the kind of person I would like to be.

I have heard of people paying tolls for the car behind them and things like that, but I have never been the recipient of such a "random act of kindness".

What a good example these complete strangers were to our family. We have decided to find a way to do something similar for someone else.

I know the chance of these nice people reading my little blog are, well, none. But I would like to say "thank you" anyway. That was such a fun surprise. You really made our night, and it is something none of us will ever forget.

Of course, there is always the possibility that they recognized us from the paper!


Alicia R. said...

ahhh, what a sweet blessing!

Darrell and Alissa said...

As Carly would say, that is SWEEEEET! I have heard of this happening to other people- I want to do it for someone....
I'll have to remember next time we're out eating!
Hey, maybe they would have paid even if your kids were crazy and the note would have said- Look like you could use any kind of help you can get!-

David and Cori said...

So crazy you would blog about this...last week we took our kids out to eat at Steak and Shake and I noticed this one couple watching our family....the kids were being really good, so I wasn't worried that we were being annoying. Then I thought how cool it would be if they were one of those couples who paid for your food as a kind gesture. That thought was replaced almost instantly with how I wished I had extra cash to pay for their meal instead....nothing ever happened from it, except me hoping to someday be that kind of person. Thanks for sharing your story.

Chris 'n Leah said...

What a beautiful story! It really does make you want to "pay it forward". What a Christ-like act of service, I love it!

De Anne said...

That's awesome. Pay it forward is a great concept!

Your kids are pretty cute and well behaved!

PS, I'm impressed you can feed your entire family out for less than $32.

Brigette Little said...

This really brought a smile to my face... and made we want to be that kind of person, too. Loved the video of the little girls dancing - how fun!

Kimberley said...

hi there,
i stumbled upon your blog, and guess what, i went to elementary school with your husband aaron!

i couldn't help but notice this receipt says bentonville, and i live here too.

what a small (blog) world.

your children are beautiful, i love all the "A" names. :)

tell aaron i said hello, he may remember me as kimberley stewart.

take care.